November 2013 National Music Reviews

Review: Spindrift – Ghost of the West

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Ghost of the West
Tee Pee Records
Street: 10.22
Spindrift = The Blue Angel Lounge + The Asteroid #4
The American West has been an influence on Spindrift since the beginning. The wide-open spaces of places like Joshua Tree, animal corpses rotting under the blazing sun and the myth of the desert have marked all of their records, but for Ghost of the West, Kirpatrick Thomas wanted something different. He wanted to make an album that didn’t emulate the myth of the West, but embodied the West—what it actually was. To accomplish this, Spindrift set out on a 21-stop ghost-town tour and filmed the journey for a documentary (to be released in 2014). Ghost of the West is the soundtrack for the unreleased film. The album hits all the familiar stops: a cinematic quality, an ethereal sound and a darkness that bubbles up under each track. The faster songs are the standouts and keep the album from getting dull: “The Matador and the Fuzz,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Gunfighter” feature energetic guitars and plenty of yips and yells. But the majority of Ghost of the West is sleepy sounding. It’s an album of cowboys on the range, just trying to get by—there aren’t many bar fights or bad guys here. Overall it feels piece-meal to have the album without the documentary. I can’t help but feel these songs would hit harder if they were presented as they were conceived, alongside the visuals of the documentary. Without a visual landscape, most of the songs on Ghost feel unimaginative. I’ll take the myth of the West, the myth of Spindrift’s West, over the “real” West any day.
–Jeanette D. Moses